The Essential Investments for your Home Business
Running your own business is one of the most difficult things you can do in life. While it comes with massive rewards, it can also be extremely stressful. As your business grows, there will come a time when you will need to take the leap and start investing in resources to grow your brand and reach more customers. Remember, there’s a difference between cost and investment. We’ve outlined a few essentials we feel are imperative for the success of your home business.
Create a website, even if you don’t think you need one.
I have a friend who runs his own successful construction business, he told me that he didn’t need a website because he already has an abundance of work. While this may be true for him now, I explained to him that a website is an investment for your future.
Here’s a few reasons why it’s important to establish an online presence by investing in a professional website, even if it’s not to attract more customers:
- You’re creating credibility for your business.Some consumers won’t consider a business without a website. With plenty of self-made companies out there, it’s important to know who to trust. Investing time and effort into creating a website shows potential customers that you’re in it for the long haul. It’s also important to ensure your website is user friendly and professional. Customers decide within the first 15 seconds whether they will leave or stay on a website. It’s imperative to make sure your website is compatible with all devices, fast and easy to understand.
- Improving the experience. Do you ever check the menu at the restaurant before you go so you know what you want? How about when you call and order your food to pick it up? Many people like to know what they want ahead of time. Customers often like to have information about your business before they speak with you or visit you.
- People need to find you. Customers need to know where you are, what you sell and how to contact you. If you don’t have any online presence, how do you expect anyone to find you? How many times do you hear, or have you said, “Just Google it”?
- Generate more sales. Offering your products online gives consumers the option to browse and purchase online without leaving the comfort of their home. Outlaying the initial and ongoing expense for payment facilities on your website could pay off in the long run by generating more income for you, with less effort.
- The ability to advertise. When business is quiet, you need a way to reach more people, typically through advertising. You could post in your local paper or expand your reach and advertise digitally. The average person will research products or services on the internet through Google or Facebook. If you’re not using either of these platforms, you’re missing out on opportunities to be seen. Advertising costs money, but it’s an outlay to invest in if you’d like to see more traffic through your doors.
The importance of a professional business email.
Many people will have a Facebook page or even a website, but they don’t have a business email. If your only means of receiving emails is your old high school email firstname.lastname@example.org, it’s time to invest in a more professional contact method for your business.
Here’s a few reasons why email is imperative to communicate within the business world:
- Your clients first impression matters. By creating a business email, you’re contributing to the brand of your business and gaining trust from your consumers.
- Improving the efficiency of your business. If you need to send information, quotes or digital products to customers, it’s important your email reaches them and is not diverted to their spam folder.
- Keep control of your email information. When someone with a company email leaves the business, by owning the email address your able to hold on to all the correspondence within it.
Tips to make the most of your email address:
- Create automated responses. The digital world has made us more connected yet more disconnected than ever before. How often do you make an enquiry online and not hear back for a few days? There’s nothing worse than thinking, did they get my message, are they going to contact me? Automated messaged take away this uncertainty and make your job easier. Everyone knows the email that you get directly after submitting an online form is automated, but it still makes us feel more connected. We know that you received our message and you’re going to call.
- Create marketing campaigns. Email is such a powerful platform. Every time someone purchases your product, or submits an enquiry on your website, they become a part of your customer database. These people have shown interest in your product and you should be nurturing them. Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing but it still effective. Utilise this platform and let your customers know what’s happening in your business.
- Company email personalisation. As your business grows, you can create multiple email addresses to organise and personalise each department within your business email allowing them to run more effectively. E.g. info@ or admin@.
Your customers are an investment.
When I go shopping at Woolworths or purchase fuel or alcohol, I scan my rewards card every time. Why? Because after reaching 2000 points I get $10 off, saving me approximately $120 a year just by swiping a card.
Loyalty programs strengthen a positive customer experience and show them it’s worth coming back. Say thanks to your customers for shopping with you, by offering them freebies or discounts in exchange for their loyalty. You could start off by creating a temporary card for your customers, stamping it with each purchase. Vistaprint is an easy to use online company where you can design, order in bulk and have them printed and delivered to your door.
Referrals are another way to generate new customers from your existing customers. By offering your customer something in return for their referral, you’re creating the opportunity to sell to someone with a higher success rate than paid advertising.
Create testimonials to showcase on your website to let new consumers know how great you are. Just like referrals, you can offer incentives from your existing clients to give you a positive testimonial.
Invest in you and your team.
It’s not uncommon for professional development to be pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities. However, developing skills has been known to boost productivity and job satisfaction among employees. Whether you’re a sole trader or have a whole team under your wing, here’s a few ways to invest in some skills for your business.
- Enrol in courses. Running your business from home can mean outlaying expenses to pay other people to do the things you either don’t want to do or don’t know how to do. Consider investing the time and money into learning new skills which would ultimately benefit your business. You can access learning modules online from places like Stackskillsor future learn.
- Hold regular staff training. This may not be relevant if you work on your own, however don’t shrug off the idea entirely that you won’t someday have staff of your own. By holding regular training sessions, you’re keeping your team up to date and motivated with current industry standards and tech trends.
We believe these tips are the essential home business investments you need to create a professional business! As you further advance your business, all the little steps you implement will begin to take off and effortlessly run in the background. This will give you more time to focus on what your business is great at. What steps are you going to take to benefit your home business?
Stephanie has recently joined the Horan & Bird Team as Marketing Executive, from a diverse background from Financial Planning to Sales for diamonds, cars and real-estate. Steph’s marketing career started within a local animal rescue group and has since progressed with Horan & Bird, including the addition of her study of a diploma in Digital Media. When she’s not at work, she’s spending time with her husband and two kids while practicing her skills in videography.